Having great skin is a 24-7 job, but Allure has four superfoods that will remedy your complexion from the inside out.
"Superfoods": The term is everywhere now, but can downing them actually make you look better? In a word: yes. "Let's say you eat three meals a day. You have three chances to hydrate your skin, boost your circulation, and promote cell turnover," says Frank Lipman, a former chief medical resident at Lincoln Hospital and founder of Eleven-Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. "Or you can eat foods that actually promote aging in skin." Here are Lipman's top four nutritional powerhouses — and one food to avoid.
Wild Salmon. "Most of us are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and we need these healthy fats [found in salmon and other fatty fish] for our bodies to function and replenish themselves," says Lipman. In addition to helping the body expel bad fats, healthy fats pad skin tissue and cell membranes, leaving skin plumper and more radiant. Aim for two to three servings a week.
Chia seeds. "They're packed with antioxidants, fiber, and fatty acids," explains Lipman. And the tiny pods keep your digestion moving too: "They swell to five times their weight in any liquid, so they'll do the same thing in your stomach." Lipman suggests sprinkling a bit on top of every meal for a total of about two tablespoons a day.
Avocados. It's rare to find so many nutrients in such a versatile food: "Lutein, Vitamin E, oleic acid, folate, and monounsaturated fats, to name a few," says Lipman. "And you can eat them many ways — blend them, slice them, mash them . . . " The so-called "good fats" in avocados help skin retain moisture, too. Eat 1/4 to a whole avocado a day.
Cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and all sorts of nutrients. "Tons of recent studies show that they reduce production of free radicals and they're full of antioxidants," says Lipman — all good news for your complexion. Try to work at least one or two servings into your daily diet.
A word on sugar. According to Lipman, avoiding detrimental foods is as important — if not more — than packing in nutritious ones. And sugar is basically the devil. "Sugars produce advanced glycation end-products — AGEs — which clog arteries, dry out tissue, and build dams of plaque where fluids should flow freely." Simply put, AGEs contribute to dryness and wrinkles. Try to cut out all added sugar (we know, we know . . . no fun) — or at least limit sweets to special occasions.
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